Elections to the Mejlis of members to replace withdrawn MPs were held in Akhal and Mary velayats on Sunday 20 November.
According to established practice, local media outlets did not report on the elections, which came as a surprise for the overwhelming majority of voters. Only on Friday evening a short announcement was published on the website of the state information agency TDH, which said that the Mejlis elections would be held in three election districts of Akhal and Mary velayats to elect replacements for those parliament members who had stepped down. At the same time, neither the names of the withdrawn candidates, nor their number (it appears there were three of them) or the reasons for their withdrawal, let alone any information on the candidates were mentioned. Television and newspapers made no coverage of the elections at all.
The lack of interest by state-run media outlets to these elections could be explained by the fact that they are held on a regional level and the local authorities should inform the voters. However, according to our sources, no information was provided.
Moreover, the website of the state information agency, the newspaper Neitralny Turkmenistan and central television reported that the voting had concluded successfully, i.e. there was an interest in the election, to its completion, to be more precise.
The TV coverage on Election Day is also quite telling. Judging by the TV footage, voting was accompanied by the already conventional performance of crowd scenes made up of students, retirees and public sector employees. People were sent to the polling stations before dawn. Before the opening of polling stations, concerts and dance shows were held. The artists were wearing thin national costumes and dresses. The temperature in the evening and night time in Akhal and Mary drops to -7-12. It was also very windy.
The female voters who came to the polling station were wearing exclusively national dresses, whereas male voters were wearing black jackets with ties � at least according to the coverage on the Turkmen television.
Source: Turkmenistan State News Agency-TDH